|Elephantiasis of the legs due to filariasis.|
|Specialty||Infectious disease, general surgery|
|Symptoms||Swelling of the skin|
Elephantiasis is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. It is characterised by edema, hypertrophy, and fibrosis of skin and subcutaneous tissues, due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels. It may affect the genitalia. The term elephantiasis is often used in reference to (symptoms caused by) parasitic worm infections, but may refer to a variety of diseases where parts of a person's body swell to massive proportions.
Some conditions that present with elephantiasis include:
- Elephantiasis nostras, due to longstanding chronic lymphangitis
- Elephantiasis tropica (known as lymphatic filariasis), caused by a number of parasitic worms, particularly Wuchereria bancrofti. More than 120 million people, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia, are affected.
- Nonfilarial elephantiasis (or podoconiosis), an immune disease affecting the lymph vessels
- Elephantiasis, Grade 3 lymphedema which may occur in people with breast cancer
- Genital elephantiasis, end result of lymphogranuloma venereum
- Proteus syndrome, a genetic disorder best known as the condition possibly suffered by Joseph Merrick, the so-called "Elephant Man."
Other causes may include:
- Repeated streptococcal infection
- Hereditary birth defects
- Pretibial myxedema
- "Definition of ELEPHANTIASIS". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- "elephantiasis", The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2018-06-28
- Carlson, Emily (27 March 2013). "Taking the 'Bite' Out of Vector-Borne Diseases - Inside Life Science Series - National Institute of General Medical Sciences". publications.nigms.nih.gov. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Lymphedema". National Cancer Institute. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Lymphatic filariasis". World Health Organization. Retrieved 1 June 2018.